From Kerala to Kashmir: A young woman's solo adventure

From Kerala to Kashmir: A young woman's solo adventure

She was not allowed to go on school trips. There was a reason behind it though. She had a habit of wetting her bed at night. Since then she wanted to travel, savour in the free-spiritedness of exploring the world alone. And Amish Mushabir has come back after embarking on a solo trip to Kashmir. This entrepreneur and mother of two kids took to Kashmir without any prior planning on a stringent budget. She savoured the snow-capped mountains, luminous lakes, and the gorgeous gardens before heading back.

Love for travelling is hereditary

Amis is Tirur Kainakkara Mohammed Ibrahim’s second daughter. Till the age of 40, Ibrahim travelled the world. He came back and married at the age of 40. Her mother hails from Kozhikode. Five years ago he passed away. Amis has inherited his love for travelling.

Amis after finishing her MBA got married at the age of 21 and settled in Saudi Arabia. She worked in an American Company in Saudi for 10 years. Her husband Mubashir, who works as an HR Manager in a Saudi company is aware of her wanderlust.

From Saudi to home

There was a restriction for women to drive alone in Saudi. But Amis would take time off to travel despite the restrictions at GCC. Two years ago, she came back to India. She had two things planned- a place to pursue her psychology and another to take up her love for travelling. Through a vlog called Travel Badaais, she hoped to chronicle her solo travels. But lockdown put a lid on her plans. Earlier she would book the best of resorts, chart route maps to ensure safety before getting ready to travel. But this time she decided to dodge such safety measures and travel like a common man.

Heaven on earth

So Amis decides to travel to Kashmir without any prior plans. From Kerala, she reached Delhi by train. The plan was to reach Srinagar from Delhi by road. But they weren’t allowing tourists to take the road to Srinagar. That’s why she decided to take a flight to Srinagar. From Srinagar, she hired a scooter and scouted the length and breadth of Kashmir. While travelling to Gulmarg and Pahalgam, she would meet villagers on the way and uploaded them in her vlog. In 8 days she covered 800 km. She would make do with the offered food and lodging and explore Kashmir. No wonder it turned out to be one of the most memorable days of her life.

A few unusual places to see in Kashmir

Kokernag: Which translates as “Hen shaped springs” is 80 km from Srinagar and 25 km from Anantnag and is situated 7,000 feet above the sea level. You can see a collection of freshwater springs, which is also the largest freshwater spring of Kashmir. Trout fishing is hugely popular in this part of the world, and they are even sold to tourists. It’s also famous for Namdah, handicrafts, Gabbah carpet and shawl weaving. You can also catch several places of worship like Hazrat Baba Reshi, Shilagram Temple, Goswami Gund Ashram, Hanuman Temple, Sita Temple, Nila Nag, Ganesh Temple, and Shiva Temple.

Daksum valley: This valley is located in Bhringi River which is ahead of the Mughal Gardens of Achabal. It offers something for everyone—stunning scenery, mountains, picnic spots, plenty of romantic getaways, cone-bearing forests; hidden grassy meadows and snowy mountains. You can see the beauty of natural springs and embrace the lifestyle of traditional villages. It is also a perfect place for camping and trekking. The path that leads to the Simthan Pass is exquisite so are the wooden slopes on either side of Daksum which are covered with grass coating. It’s also a great place for trout fishing.

Gurez: This high-altitude Himalayan village is perched at a height of around 2400m and is 86km from Bandipore and 123km from Srinagar. The valley is encircled by snow-coated mountains and presents a spectacular view of the Kishanganga River flowing through the valley. It’s considered as one of the most amazing places to visit in Kashmir as this valley gives shelter to a small number of exotic wildlife including snow leopard and brown bear. Due to heavy snowfall, Gurez is cut away from the world from November to May. By this time Razdan Pass will be completely snowed out. The tourism department of Kashmir provides Gurez Helicopter services for tourists to promote tourism. Trekking can be dangerous due to its close proximity to the border. However, the scenic landscapes, the beautiful green turf on the woodlands, fishing in Kishen Ganga River, Potato and maize fields possess distinctive charms of their own. Endless forests cling from the bottom of the valley to the peaks; mesmerizing beauty of the Habba Khatoon Peak offers a blissful experience to the tourists. It is difficult to describe the colours of Gurez valley without visiting it once in life.

Tulail Valley: Adding Tulail Valley to your Kashmir Tour list is a great idea. In fact, it can be covered on the same day trip from Gurez as it is a Himalayan sub–valley of Gurez. The road to Tulail from Gurez passes through the scenic landscapes of the Kishanganga River. En route, you will cross the villages of Barnai, Chakwali, Kashpat, Zargai and finally, you can get to see the Purani Tulail Village. The scenic landscapes are a visual treat to your senses. The virgin valley which keeps flourishing in summer is ideal for Instagramming. Again, you can find a lot of freshwater trout here. The green mountains and the flower meadows add a special beauty to this valley. You need a permit to enter the Tulail region from Dawar Police Station. As the village is on the LOC, it is compulsory to seek a series of permissions from Army Camps and SP of this area.

Bangus Valley: This hidden gem is located in the north of Kashmir in the Kupwara district and lies within the Handwara sub-district. The valley is positioned close to the line of control between India and Pakistan and has some really interesting ecological areas surrounded by green grasslands, meadows, and springs. It is even proposed to be a biological reserve as it produces a fine quality of grass for cattle which also has a medicinal value. Try the spring and summer seasons (April to June) as the weather is pleasant and even monsoon months (July to September) are favourable.

Poonch: Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places in Kashmir, you can see lush green meadows, snow-capped mountains and the eighteenth century Poonch Fort which is spectacular to say the least. The seven lakes of Girgan Dhok have to be in your itinerary, alongside many religious shrines like Baksh Sahib and Gurudwara Nangali Sahib.

Jama Masjid: This mosque, situated in Nowhatta is considered a pivotal one in Srinagar. This was constructed by Sultan Sikandar during the 1400 AD and was expanded by Sikandar’s son, Zain-ul-Abidin. You’ll find 370 wooden pillars in this mosque and a mesmerizing courtyard – both of them are considered to be the major highlights of this mosque.

Aru Valley: Aru Valley, put together against the snow-clad peaks of the Himalayas is only 12 km from Pahalgam. The valley serves as a base camp for several treks and lakes including Tarsar Lake and Kolhoi glacier. It is also home to the Aru River which is a tributary of the Lidder River. Apart from its scenery, you can also try horse riding and hiking. During the winter months, the view of the whole valley covered with snow is a comfort to the eyes.

Amis will be the guide

That’s her dream! A travel institution along with her training academy. She wants to organize travel vacations for single and group tourists. Thankfully, both her children (Faila and Faas) enjoy travelling. Her next plan is a trip with her daughter.  

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